United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DENYING THE PETITION FOR
WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF
APPEALABILITY OR LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Henden, (“Petitioner”), incarcerated at the Ionia
Maximum Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan, filed a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. In his application, filed pro se,
petitioner challenges his conviction for unarmed robbery,
Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.530. For the reasons stated
below, the petition for writ of habeas corpus is
pleaded guilty in the Wayne County Circuit Court and was
sentenced to two to fifteen years in prison.
seeks habeas relief on the following grounds:
Subject-matter jurisdiction; Enacting Clause.
Subject-matter jurisdiction; Title.
petition for a writ of habeas corpus must set forth facts
that give rise to a cause of action under federal law or it
may summarily be dismissed.” See Perez v.
Hemingway, 157 F.Supp.2d 790, 796 (E.D. Mich. 2001).
Federal courts are also “authorized to dismiss any
habeas petition that appears legally insufficient on its
face.” McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856
(1994). A federal district court is authorized to summarily
dismiss a habeas corpus petition if it plainly appears from
the face of the petition or the exhibits that are attached to
it that the petitioner is not entitled to federal habeas
relief. See Carson v. Burke, 178 F.3d 434, 436 (6th
Cir. 1999); Rules Governing § 2254 Cases, Rule 4, 28
U.S.C. foll. § 2254. The Sixth Circuit, in fact, long
ago indicated that they “disapprove the practice of
issuing a show cause order [to the respondent] until after
the District Court first has made a careful examination of
the petition.” Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134,
140 (6th Cir. 1970). A district court therefore has the duty
to screen out any habeas corpus petition which lacks merit on
its face. Id. at 141. No return to a habeas petition
is necessary “when the petition is frivolous, or
obviously lacks merit, or where the necessary facts can be
determined from the petition itself without consideration of
a return by the state.” Id.
undertaking the review required by Rule 4, this Court
concludes that petitioner's habeas claims are meritless,
such that the petition must be summarily denied. See
Robinson v. Jackson, 366 F.Supp.2d 524, 525 (E.D. Mich.
argues that the Wayne County Circuit Court lacked subject
matter jurisdiction over his case because the unarmed robbery
statute that he was convicted of lacked an Enacting Clause or
title, as required by Article IV, §§ 23 and 24 of
the Michigan Constitution.
determination of whether a state court is vested with
jurisdiction under state law over a criminal case is a
function of the state courts, not the federal courts.
Wills v. Egeler, 532 F.2d 1058, 1059 (6th Cir.
1976); see also Daniel v. McQuiggin, 678 F.Supp.2d
547, 553 (E.D. Mich. 2009). The Sixth Circuit has noted that
“a state court's interpretation of state
jurisdictional issues conclusively establishes jurisdiction
for purposes of federal habeas review.” Strunk v.
Martin, 27 F. App'x. 473, 475 (6th Cir. 2001).
Petitioner's claim that the trial court lacked
jurisdiction to try his case raises an issue of state law,
because it questions the interpretation of Michigan law, and
is therefore not cognizable in federal habeas review. See
United States ex. rel. Holliday v. Sheriff of Du Page County,
Ill., 152 F.Supp.2d 1004, 1013 (N.D. Ill. 2001); Cf.
Toler v. McGinnis, 23 F. App'x. 259, 266 (6th Cir.
2001) (“In this case, [petitioner's] claim for
habeas relief would be contingent upon our interpretation of
an alleged violation of Michigan law...Consequently, the
district court correctly concluded that it had no authority
on habeas review to review the Michigan Court of
Appeals's decision on this issue.”).
related allegation that the Michigan Legislature violated
Article IV of the Michigan Constitution in enacting the
unarmed robbery statute is not cognizable on habeas review
because it raises an issue of state law. State officials are
not required to follow their own procedural statutes and
rules as a matter of federal due process. Sweeton v.
Brown, 27 F.3d 1162, 1165 (6th Cir. 1994)(en banc);
see also Coleman v. Martin,363 F.Supp.2d 894, 903
(E.D. Mich. 2005). In addition, a habeas petitioner is not
entitled to habeas relief based upon an alleged violation of
the Michigan Constitution. See Hudson v. Berghuis,
174 F. App'x. 948, 952, n.1 (6th Cir. 2006); see also
Doyle v. Scutt,347 F.Supp.2d 474, 485 (E.D. Mich.
2004). Petitioner is not entitled to federal habeas relief on
his claim that Michigan's unarmed robbery statute was
improperly enacted or lacked a title in violation of Article
IV of Michigan's Constitution, because his claims
implicate only an alleged error of state law. See Samel
v. Jabe,918 F.2d 958 (Table); No. 1990 WL 179686, *1
(6th Cir. Nov. 19, 1990); see also Taylor v.
Lecureux, 54 F.3d 777 ...